By Rick Duggin
Recent years have seen an epidemic of preachers who have been caught in less than honorable circumstances. Bob Harrington, Jim Bakker, and Jimmy Swaggart are notable examples of men who preached one standard as they practiced another.
The May 29 issue of The Daily News journal featured a story concerning the present problems of some men who are connected with The Sword of the Lord, a Baptist paper which is published within one-half block of my house. Robert Sumner, an editor of a rival paper, has accused The Sword of the Lords circulation manager of adultery, prompting him to resign.
Even more serious are Sumner’s charges against Jack Hyles, a member of The Sword of the Lord’s board of directors, chancellor of Hyles-Anderson College, and preacher of a church in Indiana which boasts the “largest Sunday school in the world.” Sumner alleges that Hyles has misappropriated funds and that he has carried on an improper relationship with a woman for 15 years.
Curtis Hutson, editor of The Sword of the Lord, has responded to Sumner’s allegations by denouncing him as a known liar whose motives in this matter are based on jealousy.
It is not my intention in this article to take sides with Sumner or with Hutson. I wish that both of the accused men could be proven innocent of the charges against them. The interesting part concerns Mr. Hutson’s response to Sumner’s accusations.
On April 10, 1982, I purchased a copy of Robert Sumner’s booklet, Does the Bible Teach That Water Baptism Is a Necessary Requirement for Salvation? After thoroughly studying this diatribe, I too had reached the conclusion that Mr. Sumner has difficulty in accurately representing the positions of religious opponents, not to mention his acute difficulty in properly handling the word of God. (I will provide documentation of this fact for interested readers.)
Apparently I have been more charitable with Robert Sumner than Mr. Hutson has been. I was willing to assume that Mr. Sumner had carelessly passed along inaccurate information to his readers without making an effort to verify his claims. I have never referred to him as a Har. I’m sure Mr. Hutson knows him much better than I do. If Baptist doctrine were true, however, Mr. Sumner would not need to be overly concerned with Mr. Hutson’s estimate of his character. Baptist doctrine says that once a man is saved, he cannot fall from grace. Sam Morris, whose articles are sometimes featured in The Sword of the Lord, explained the doctrine this way:
We take the position that a Christian’s sins do not damn his soul. The way a Christian lives, what he says, his character, his conduct, or his attitude toward other people have nothing whatsoever to do with the salvation of his soul. . . All the prayers a man may pray, all the Bibles he may read, all the churches he may belong to, all the services he may attend, all the sermons he may practice, all the debts he may pay, all, the benevolent acts he may perform will not make his soul one whit safer; and all the sins he may commit from idolatry to murder will not make his soul in any more danger. . . The way a man lives has nothing whatsoever to do with the salvation of his soul (Do A Christian’s Sins Damn His Soul?, pp. 1,2).
Mr. Hutson says that Robert Sumner is a known liar. But Baptist doctrine affirms that lying will not endanger the soul of the child of God. According to this teaching, Mr. Sumner will be in heaven in spite of his lies, just as every adulterous Baptist will be in heaven in spite of his adultery.
Now, contrast Revelations 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.- which is the second death.”
How can Mr. Hutson reconcile Baptist doctrine with Revelation 21:8? Sword of the Lord writers emphatically declare that the Bible must be interpreted literally. Dear reader, does Revelation 21:8 mean that all liars will be lost or that some liars will be lost? By the time the advocates of Baptist doctrine gets through “explaining” this passage, it will say the opposite of what it really says! So much for literal interpretations!
Mr. Hutson, is Robert Sumner a saved liar or a lost liar? If saved, the Bible must be wrong in teaching that all liars will be lost. If lost, then what has become of your Baptist doctrine? Dear friends, forsake this glaring falsehood and believe the truth.
Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 24, p. 752
December 21, 1989